Karen Steele Cause of Death: The Tragic End of a Beautiful Star

Karen Steele was an American actress and model who appeared in more than 60 roles in film and television. She was known for her platinum blonde hair, sparkling blue eyes, deep sultry voice, and stunning beauty. She starred in movies such as Marty, Ride Lonesome, and Decision at Sundown, and in TV shows such as Maverick, Perry Mason, and Star Trek. She was also a cover girl and a model for magazines and commercials. But behind her glamorous image, there was a painful story of illness, injury, and struggle. Karen Steele died of cancer on March 12, 1988, just eight days before her 57th birthday. What was the cause of her cancer? How did she cope with her condition? And what legacy did she leave behind? In this article, we will explore the life and death of Karen Steele, one of the most beautiful stars of Hollywood.

A Childhood of Challenges

Karen Steele was born on March 20, 1931, in Honolulu, Hawaii. Her father was Percy Davis Steele, a Bostonian of English descent and a career Marine who later became an administrator of the Marshall Islands. Her mother was Ruth Covey Merritt, a Californian of French and Danish heritage. Karen grew up in the Hawaiian Islands, where she learned to speak Japanese and Hawaiian languages, as well as English.

When she was 13 years old, Karen suffered a surfing accident that changed her life. She cut her leg on coral segments and developed a severe infection that threatened to amputate her limb. She underwent 22 operations to rebuild her leg with wires and metal, and had to learn to walk again with the help of a doctor from Hong Kong who cured her infection. She later said that the experience made her stronger and more determined to pursue her dreams.

A Career of Success

Karen attended the University of Hawaii and studied acting at Rollins College in Florida for a year. She then moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in show business. She started as a radio actress on the program Let George Do It, and then made her film debut in The Clown (1953) in an uncredited role. She also worked as a cover girl and a model for various magazines and products.

Her breakthrough role came in 1955, when she played Virginia, a tough but tender waitress who falls in love with Ernest Borgnine’s character in Marty, a critically acclaimed drama that won four Academy Awards. Karen was reportedly mistaken for another actress by producer Delbert Mann when he cast her for the role. She later said that Marty was her favorite film because it gave her a chance to show her acting skills.

Karen went on to star in many films and TV shows in the 1950s and 1960s, mostly in westerns and dramas. She worked with some of the biggest names in Hollywood, such as James Garner, Clint Eastwood, Roger Moore, Burt Lancaster, Randolph Scott, Glenn Ford, and Kirk Douglas. She also appeared in sci-fi and comedy genres, such as The Twilight Zone, Get Smart, and Star Trek. She played Eve McHuron, one of the three women who are sold as brides by Harry Mudd in the episode “Mudd’s Women” (1966).

Karen was praised for her beauty and talent by critics and fans alike. She was described as “one of the most strikingly beautiful actresses to ever work in film and television” by IMDb. She was also nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Most Promising Newcomer – Female in 1956.

A Life of Struggle

Despite her success on screen, Karen faced many challenges in her personal life. She had several failed relationships with men who were either abusive or unfaithful to her. She married four times but divorced three times. Her first husband was Bob Waterfield, a former football player who became a film producer. They married in 1955 but divorced in 1958 after he cheated on her with Jane Russell. Her second husband was Maurice Kane Jr., an actor who appeared with her in Decision at Sundown (1957). They married in 1958 but divorced in 1960 after he beat her up during an argument. Her third husband was Robert Egan Jr., an attorney who represented her during her divorce from Kane. They married in 1961 but divorced in 1969 after he became addicted to drugs.

Karen also suffered from health problems throughout her life. She had chronic pain from her leg injury that required constant medication. She also developed breast cancer in the late 1970s that spread to other parts of her body. She underwent chemotherapy and radiation treatments that caused her to lose her hair and weight.

Karen tried to cope with her difficulties by involving herself in charitable causes and community service. She supported various organizations such as the American Cancer Society , the Muscular Dystrophy Association , and the Salvation Army . She also volunteered at the Mohave Mental Health Clinic in Arizona, where she met her fourth and final husband, Dr. Maurice Boyd Ruland, a psychiatrist. They married in 1973 and settled in Golden Valley, Arizona. They remained together until her death in 1988.

A Legacy of Beauty

Karen Steele died of cancer on March 12, 1988, at the age of 56, in Kingman, Arizona. She was cremated and her ashes were scattered over the Pacific Ocean. She left behind her husband, Dr. Ruland, and no children.

Karen Steele was one of the most beautiful stars of Hollywood who had a successful career in film and television. She was admired for her beauty and talent by critics and fans alike. She was also a courageous woman who overcame many hardships in her life. She was a generous and compassionate person who helped others in need. She was a star who shone brightly on screen and off screen.

Karen Steele cause of death was cancer, but her legacy of beauty lives on.

Doms Desk

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